The Young Messiah
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:6-8
We know a lot about Jesus. Even those who don't consider him Savior or Lord note him as a key historical figure. His story has been told and re-told. As Christians, we hear the words of Jesus on a weekly basis. We know so much about his earthly ministry.
And yet, we know little about his life. We know about his birth, and we know about his ministry. But what about the rest? A nearly 30-year history that is absent from Scripture.
The Gospel of Matthew tells of his birth, references his exile to Egypt as a boy and his return after the death of Herod. The Gospel of Luke tells of a story about Jesus disappearing to the Temple as a boy. But that's all we get of young Jesus in Scripture. Both the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John pick up with Jesus as an adult, ready for His ministry to begin.
Anne Rice, the novelist behind "Interview With A Vampire," was intrigued by Jesus' early life. Upon her return to the Catholic Church, she wrote a book — "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" — that depicted Jesus over a year from age seven to age 8. It begins with Him in Egypt, then returning home to Nazareth and, eventually, Jerusalem. The book served as the basis for the new film "The Young Messiah."
The film follows a young Jesus coming into His power and filled with questions about who He really is. As Joseph says at one point, they are the questions of a child but the answers could only be understood by a man. The film depicts the struggle for Jesus — as well as Joseph and Mary — to keep Him safe and to help Him see who He really is.
It's a story most of us haven't considered. It's a complete work of fiction because the Scriptures are silent on this period in Jesus' life. It is an, at times, compelling thought piece on what it would be like to raise the Messiah.
Jesus is amazing, and His mission and ministry were amazing. That verse above, from Paul, is incredible to conceive. As we're in this holy season leading up to Easter it's impossible not to think about Jesus, and His sacrifice for us.
We know of His mission and His teaching, but we can only imagine what He was like growing up. Movies like "The Young Messiah" ask that question, but more importantly they get people thinking about Jesus, His life and ministry. And that's never a bad thing.